Australians 'find trouble' in Phuket
- Published: 1/04/2013 at 10:21 AM
- Online news:
The best safety device on a visit to Phuket is common sense, Australia's honorary consul to Phuket suggests.
Larry Cunningham said that while the new "safety zones" set up in tourist areas are welcome, Australians too often bring trouble onto themselves.
Mr Cunningham was quoted in a report published Monday by 7News, a TV station in Perth.
Travel agent Michelle Smith of Perth, in her last known photograph hours before she was killed in a bag-snatching in Phuket last June. (Facebook photo)
The province has asked the government to provide up to 5,000 police to help to establish and man the planned safety zones.
The measure is a response to a spate of deaths and foreign press reports on safety problems for tourists.
Last year travel agent Michelle Smith, 60, was fatally stabbed when she resisted two bag snatchers, in a case that received publicity worldwide. Around 50 Australians die each year in Phuket, half to natural causes but "the rest from misadventure, including motorbike accidents and drug overdoses," the report said.
Mr Cunningham told the reporter, however, that overall, "Theft isn't that big a deal, the problem we tend to have more of is drink spiking."
He said robbery attempts often begin with drugs put secretly into drinks sold to Australian tourists.
And he conceded that in many cases of violence, aggressive behaviour was behind the fight.
"There is assault, but the behaviour of some of the Aussies on holiday here, they stir it up themselves," said Mr Cunningham in comments likely to stir controversy.
"There [are] only so many yobbos you can see walking up the street with a beer in each hand and no shirt bumping into the locals before something does happen."
The report ended with advice from an anonymous tourist on how to avoid trouble in Phuket:
"Don't get too drunk and make sure you always know your way home and got somebody with you, never be on your own."